(BY JEN, ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA JANE)
I wanted to write this to explore my “demented relationship” with David Lynch. I started a few months ago but it never went anywhere. I felt like we had this really important struggle going on where I wasn’t totally with him, but also, I was and he was supporting me in this completely made up way. That isn’t real. I realized I am just a fan! I mean, clearly I understand his work on a way deeper and more intimate level than anyone else even if I’ve only watched stuff once. Our relationship is actually quite healthy.
I need to let you know that I hated David Lynch for a long time. Dismissing his art was one of my favorite things to do – it would make people so mad. I didn’t need to waste my time watching spooky misogynist movies, watching women getting tortured or murdered. Had I seen any David Lynch movies at this point besides The Elephant Man? Uh, NO. Of course not, I didn’t need that shit weighing me down. I loved The Elephant Man. It made me cry hysterically for two solid hours after the movie was finished. I still hated him. The film started with an image of a woman getting kicked by an elephant- he was proving my point. The man was obsessed with producing images of violence inflicted on women and I was obsessed with dissing him.
Eventually 2012 happened and I got really into David Lynch. I mean, really.
The thing is, he’s beyond the beyond.
Beyond the beyond good.
You know this already. Even if you hate him (I get it), you know he’s incredibly talented. He has powers. If you read his book on Transcendental Meditation and creativity you also know that he says “beyond the beyond” and “beyond good” constantly.
He endorses these $40.00 vitamins. I think I need them? I wonder if he likes popcorn? I need to try his Signature Blend Coffee. (Update: I was given this coffee for my birthday! Have not tried it yet).
Remember how when Twin Peaks was first available on Netflix Instant Watch people starting talking about it and referencing it even more than they already always do? I watched it to be part of The National Conversation and I loved it. There was no avoiding it - the music, the coffee, the donuts, the characters, the shots of trees in the wind! I have a pulse so I felt in love with Special Agent Dale Cooper instantly. I still hated David Lynch and felt like Mark Frost was probably the real brains behind the show.
This spring I had a stomach virus and laid on my couch for days only getting up to barf. My hair looked exactly like David Lynch’s. It didn’t really but it had the vibe down for sure. I still hated him at this point, even if I didn’t. I was googling “David Lynch hair” and that led me to a page about his meditation. HE MEDITATES!!? (I know everyone else on earth knew this but I had been purposefully ignoring him for years so this was news to me). I had already been thinking pretty often about my inevitable Meditation Phase so this was like striking gold. Learning about DL’s deep commitment somehow validated my future and also my entire life. OH MY GOD I AM DAVID LYNCH. Kind of! You know?
I still had only seen The Elephant Man & Twin Peaks. It’s almost like I was a poser only I wasn’t. My love was real. I took his meditation book out from the library. I felt like he was giving me really good art/life advice. He became sort of this Uncle David, my best friend supporting me through life and telling me to stop scheduling short bursts of studio time, it never works. That’s true. He was forcing me to take my art seriously and also to drink a lot of coffee. He told me about catching ideas, which is how I made the banner for this here blog. I caught it while walking from the 6 train to the E train on my way home from work. When I made it and it looked exactly like the idea I caught I knew David was right about everything.
I became obsessed with his song "Good Day Today" and his persona in general. I love how sweet, sometimes child-like, hilarious, devoted and kind he is. Or seems.
I was truly terrified by the final episode of Twin Peaks. I could not sleep. I stayed up all night asking my boyfriend why does David Lynch do this- these images? Why do we have to see them? Does he hate women? No, right? Why is he making us see this stuff? He’s very talented. If he wasn’t so talented I would have fell asleep. How is he so talented? It was exactly like that part in Blue Velvet where Kyle MacLachlan is like, “Why are there people like Frank?”, Except it was in a bed and not a car and it lasted for like 4 hours. We were asking the same question and feeling the same feelings only he exists in a 2 hour movie so his needed to be condensed.
If you are at all an aware human being you know about the deep darkness of this world. It’s really sad and heavy and real. It’s hard to accept. Part of some meditation is accepting that. Sometimes I meditate now. I'm going to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique in 2 weeks. I’ve also watched most of his movies (even INLAND EMPIRE you guys - and I loved it).
David understands this darkness on another level. His relationship with evil is grotesque and powerful. For years I didn’t want it to see it because I already knew it. It’s clear to me now I was avoiding any and all things Lynch because I did not want to accept the soul crushing darkness that exists in the world. I had this unconscious idea that to show it was to support it, which is really stupid. Is it really misogynist to show in extreme, emotional, visceral detail the hell women go through? Or is it, like, totally radically feminist? Or maybe it’s neither, it’s just a dark reality.
It’s frustrating to me that in general his work tends to be regarded as outrageously absurd and purposefully confusing. Is that not exactly the way the world is? I mean, really. The need many people feel to try and pin his movies down and find symbolism and a clear message is unnecessary. You just need to feel them. You’ll know exactly what he is saying.
I don’t really need to watch a David Lynch movie to understand there are people like Frank. As a woman I’m constantly aware that someone would like to sexually objectify, humiliate, hurt, rape or kill me every minute of the day. I know this at all times. I think his movies make everyone feel that. I think that’s really important. That awful, anxious feeling of dread you get from watching these movies? That makes them cool? THAT IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. That is what it feels like to be walking home alone and having some asshole say disgusting shit to you the entire way. My instinct was to avoid it but avoiding something doesn’t make it go away.